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Liverpool 2, Newcastle United 0: First Thoughts

Liverpool won through to come within four points of fourth-placed Manchester City.

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

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Liverpool 2 Sterling 9', Allen 70'
Newcastle 0

  • Pre-match thoughts: Daniel Sturridge was injured once again after coming off against Blackburn Rovers with what looked like a slight injury. Jordon Ibe (injury) and Emre Can (suspension) returned to the starting line-up.

  • A somewhat even opening few minutes was brightened by a wonderful goal by Raheem Sterling. Sterling cut in from the left after he received the ball from Henderson and curled the ball beyond Tim Krul. Liverpool were ahead inside ten minutes.

  • Newcastle struggled with Liverpool's 4-3-3 formation in the opening half hour. Coutinho's false nine position gave centre backs no direct opponent as he dropped deep.

  • Liverpool took control of the game after going ahead and found it easy to construct attacks against a visiting side that gave the ball away in deeper positions.

  • Too wasy for Lucas Leiva on 35 minutes to head the ball on goal from Jordan Henderson's free-kick. Tim Krul's save was good but the Brazilian was offside.

  • Joe Allen and Dejan Lovren caused a few worries in a relatively comfortable fame but combined to give away what should have been a penalty. Ayoze Perez was hacked by Lovren after Allen gave the ball away again in a dangerous area.

  • Half-time thoughts: Liverpool could have been two or three goals up or level by the interval. Newcastle spent most of the first half dreaming but finished strongly in the last two or three minutes and those were worrying times.

  • Newcastle spent the first ten minutes of the second half on the front foot at Anfield without creating any clear chances. This was more than irksome to witness as Newcastle were ravaged by poor form, injuries, suspensions, and lacklustre performances.

  • This should not have been a contest after the first twenty minutes and that reflected poorly against a Liverpool side engaged in an unnecessary second half battle.

  • Dejan Lovren's poor defensive header on 51 minutes and Emre Can's dangerous dwelling on the ball on 55 minutes typified a Liverpool side in need of sensible game intelligence in dangerous positions. Glen Johnson also showed moments of poor concentration but Lovren was the worst offender by some distance.

  • Henderson and Ibe's good work down the right was wasted by Raheem Sterling on 56 minutes. Ryan Taylor's miskick gave Sterling a simple finish but he put the ball wide. Incredible. Fabio Borini came on for Ibe to give Liverpool more of an attacking presence and Coutinho moved to the right of a front three. Fortunately Newcastle had far less to offer than Liverpool and went two behind with twenty minutes to go after Joe Allen got his first Premier League goal at Anfield.

  • Moussa Sissoko got himself into tangles all evening in a solid display for a side bereft of confidence as well as inspiration and his sending off for two bookable offences was inevitable. It was a terrible tackle on Lucas late on and the Frenchman began walking before Lee Mason branded yellow followed by red.

  • Liverpool pushed for a third with Henderson continuing to grow in influence, and in the last ten minutes, Sterling had another chance to score on an evening where the youngster showed the strengths and weaknesses in his promising game.

  • Full-time thoughts: It was a game where Liverpool probably could have won any way they wanted to. It could and should have been more convincing with such opposition, but Liverpool did what was needed to win. Improvements must be made to beat a more confident Aston Villa in the forthcoming FA Cup semi-final.

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We'll be back shortly to take an in-depth look at everything that happened in today's game with the full recap. Until then, let us know your take on the ups and downs of the match in the comments, and if you haven't already, join the community on the Liverpool Offside, where we'll have full coverage and lively in-game discussion for every match this season.

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